My Lenten journal for Holy Week. You are welcome to follow along and comment.
On Wednesday Jesus taught the church professionals and took his closest disciples on a retreat in the mountains (Matthew 24-25). To get the whole picture we should read Matthew 21-25. Here is one thought of many for today.
Matthew 21:23-27 ” Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
So the temple “board of directors” looked the savior in the eye ask asked, “who do you think you are and who told you that you could say such things here in OUR house?” Jesus deftly turned the the question against them. Jesus answers them by asking them who HE is and what is HIS authority. Rather than discern an answer from God, these scholarly believers looked for political answers. Rather than seeking to God, they worried about how things appeared to those looking at them.
At this moment I am being asked the same question. In Baptism, what authority do I give to Jesus over my life and why. Today I will choose and so will you. Who gets to set my standards and receive this authority? God by faith or humans by choice.
Truth be told, I will submit to both. I give authority to my wife, doctor dentist, denomination and others. Yet, I am called to put God first. I must allow God to be the first and final filter. This is not just theological but practical, not just hereafter but here and now. Learning of God’s authority is not instant thing and will take some spiritual growth. This process is the message of Holy Week.
We start each day with a well intentioned parade, pass through many situations, and confront who we are. The question this Wednesday is, “Who gets the final word in who we are and how we are?” Jesus was rock solid in his calling because he knew God had the final word. You and I can live with this solid footing too.
Are your steps solid or slippery? Perhaps a little of both. Jesus went on retreat. After this confrontation Jesus found time in the mountains away from the world to recharge with God. Find an hour today to pray. Find a day this month. Find a weekend this year and seek God.
God is faithful to be found by all who do. Easter blessings to you!